1991 Ford Explorer Dipstick Breaks

I have this explorer that keeps breaking the dipstick when I put it in the motor. I've replaced the tube and the dipstick both but it keeps breaking.
Right on the tip like its twisting off. Anyone ever had this problem know what to do about it? I seem to recall newer 4.0l motors had a dipstick that was more round instead of the flat design. Am I remembering correctly and will one work in my '91 4.0l? thanks in advance.
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That's the most bizzare problem I've heard of. I had a 1992 Ranger 4.0 and had no problem.
Are you letting the the dipstick rotate as it goes down the tube? The only possible explanation that I can think of is that you're forcing it in without allowing it to rotate.
CJB

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It is the most bizarre problem. I've been letting it rotate as it goes in, it has never been great about going in, but it would go. This morning it was rather chilly (in the 30's) I checked the oil, I went to put the dipstick back in the motor and snap. It broke the second dipstick in about 3 months. This vehicle has plagued me with all sorts of bad luck, this one just tops the cake. Do you know of another dipstick design that may have been used a little later that might remedy this? or any other suggestons? Thanks.

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Am I to believe Ford is making dipsticks out of plastic?
H
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No. On some the very end has a plastic bulb, but the stick it self is metal. This dip stick is the very familiar flat metal.

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Exactly where is the thing breaking? bottom top If this.. --X----------------x--|-- was your dipstick, is it breaking at the X or the x

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It is breaking exactly at the full mark on each stick. Right above the full mark on the second L on the dipstick.

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Well, here's my guess....
The only thing I can think of that would make it break is that it's being hit by a connecting rod and it breaks at the weakest spot ,which is where that fill line is scribed on it. As to why it's being hit...hmm. My memory may be wrong but I think I've seen some engines where there is a dipstick tube that extends down into the engine to make sure the dipstick is kept away from the moving parts. Perhaps there are two separate dipstick tubes, one on the outside, the one you have replaced, and one on the inside, which has perhaps simply fallen out and is laying in the oil pan. So now when you stick the dipstick in it's just flopping around inside the engine and getting hit.
Or if there is just one tube that extends from outside the engine to inside is it curved in anyway on the lower part so that you have a choice of how it's "aimed" on the inside?
Before the tip breaks off have you noticed any marks on the end of the dipstick indicating something is hitting it?

-- Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts:
"What, sir, is the use of militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. . . Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise a standing army upon its ruins." -- Debate, U.S. House of Representatives, August 17, 1789
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I thought something along them lines, so I was keeping a close check on the dipstick, I never seen any marking to indicate it was being hit, and I never felt any sort of vibrations coming through it when I would touch the handle end while the motor was running. As far as hitting a connecting rod and causing it to break the dipstick has always broken with the motor turned off. I would just be pushing it in and snap. Very weird.

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EJB wrote:

Just to pose another problem, they aren't still in the sump, are they?
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For the time being yeah, its just laying in the bottom of the pan, I'll fish it out like I did the last one as soon as I figure out what I'm going to do with it.

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EJB wrote:

A tool and die maker often design products with an indent in some area if they wish it to break during assembly or so it can be adjusted for use.
I suspect that the bottom of your dipstick (for whatever reason) is being torqued (bent but not broken) when in place. The constant pressure and changing temperatures weaken it until it just snaps. I would try polishing it (the replacement) till it shines, clean it with acetone and then color it with something very light (dykem would be ideal) and push it in and out while the engine is off, and cold. Then check for marks on the dipstick.
Maybe you could adapt one of those later model dipsticks that are made of cable.
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Thanks, I'll try that when I get a replacement, I'm going to pick up a newer one that is made of some sort of cable and see whats up. The motor has been replaced long before I got ahold of the truck, so its kind of like playing Dr Frankenstein right now.
Thanks for the tip about blueing it and see where it is hitting, definitely worth checking out.

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My question was more along the lines of his getting another dipstick and annealing it so it's not so brittle, and making sure the end is rounded so it can move past any obstacle that may be catching it? It's what I would do....at least once.
| EJB wrote: | > I thought something along them lines, so I was keeping a close check on the | > dipstick, I never seen any marking to indicate it was being hit, and I never | > felt any sort of vibrations coming through it when I would touch the handle | > end while the motor was running. As far as hitting a connecting rod and | > causing it to break the dipstick has always broken with the motor turned | > off. I would just be pushing it in and snap. | > Very weird. | | A tool and die maker often design products with an indent in some area | if they wish it to break during assembly or so it can be adjusted for use. | | I suspect that the bottom of your dipstick (for whatever reason) is | being torqued (bent but not broken) when in place. The constant | pressure and changing temperatures weaken it until it just snaps. I | would try polishing it (the replacement) till it shines, clean it with | acetone and then color it with something very light (dykem would be | ideal) and push it in and out while the engine is off, and cold. Then | check for marks on the dipstick. | | Maybe you could adapt one of those later model dipsticks that are made | of cable.
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You said that the engine had been replaced. That makes me wonder if you are purchasing the right dipstick. Don't know if they used different designs in different model years, but bet they did.
On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 20:46:24 -0600, "John Riggs"

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I was thinking that, I went to the local salvage yard today and picked up a Dipstick that was made of cable, off a newer vehicle, it goes in unmolested and works like a charm. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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